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Abstract Glass Building
What is Commissioning?
The Commissioning Process

Commissioning is a quality assurance program that verifies that a building's systems are designed, installed, and perform in accordance to the owner requirements.

The systems to be commissioned and the rigor of the commissioning process are determined by the owner's representative and the systems engineers. Typically, the systems chosen to undergo the commissioning process include the HVAC&R systems and their associated controls, the hot water system, lighting and lighting controls, and any renewable energy systems including solar hot water, photovoltaic, and wind-turbine systems.


The commissioning process has proven to be an excellent value for the owner with a return on investment for new construction averaging 4 years and 1 year or less for existing buildings.


Commissioning in the Design Phase

The Owner's Project Requirements​

​​The commissioning process begins by the development of the Owner's Project Requirements (OPR) for the building with the assistance of the Commissioning Authority (CxA).  All future decision-making during the design, construction, and acceptance phases should be based on the OPR.

The Commissioning Plan​

​The Commissioning Authority develops the Commissioning Plan early in the design phase and includes the goals and objectives of the commissioning process, general project information, a list of the commissioned systems, the roles and responsibilities of the commissioning team, the communications and documentation requirements, and the activities and products to be completed in the Design and Construction phases.

The Basis of Design

The Systems Designers develop the Basis of Design (BOD) to document the compliance of  their system's design with the OPR and the referenced standards. The BOD includes a narrative description of the systems, the primary design assumptions, calculations, and the referenced standards. The Commissioning Authority reviews the BOD for clarity and completeness

The Commissioning Requirements

​The Commissioning Authority develops the Commissioning Requirements to be included in the bid documents. They give clear direction to the Systems Installers about their roles and responsibilities in the commissioning process. They include the equipment submittal, installation documentation, and the functional test procedure requirements.


Commissioning in the Construction Phase


Equipment Submittals​

A review of the equipment submitting provided by the systems subcontractors before any equipment is purchased to verify compliance with the construction documents and the OPR

​Installation Inspections

Periodic inspections at the jobsite are made to verify that the equipment is being installed in compliance with the plans and specifications.

Issues Log​

Problems related to the design and installation of the commissioned systems and the resolution of these issues are documented in an Issues Log. It is updated throughout the design and construction phases.

​The Systems Manual

A Systems Manual with a focus on efficient operation of the building systems is compiled by the Commissioning Authority. It will include final version of the Basis of Design, system single-line diagrams, the as-built sequences of operations, control drawings, original set-points, and operating instructions for integrated building systems

Functional Performance Testing

The Commissioning Authority will lead and witness the Functional Performance Testing of the commissioned systems as performed by the Systems Installers. He will review the test procedures and the results of testing upon their conclusion.

Final Commissioning Report​

​The Commissioning Authority will complete a Final Commissioning Report at the end of the functional performance testing of the commissioned systems. This report will summarize all of the findings recorded during the entire commissioning process.

It will include a history of any system deficiencies identified and how they were resolved, systems performance test results and evaluation, and confirmation indicating whether the commissioned systems meet the Owner’s Project Requirements, Basis of Design, and contract documents.


Operations Review​

The Commissioning Authority will return to interview the owner, operators and occupants of the building within 10 months after substantial completion. This review will help to resolve operational problems with the building and equipment warranty issues.


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